Agency aquires open space near bridge

PROTECTED PROPERTY—Area outlined in green shows the 98-acre acquisition, with the 101 Freeway at the bottom, just out of view. The road leading up to the bottom half of the triangular-shaped parcel is Calle Robleda. Courtesy of MRCA and Google Earth

PROTECTED PROPERTY—Area outlined in green shows the 98-acre acquisition, with the 101 Freeway at the bottom, just out of view. The road leading up to the bottom half of the triangular-shaped parcel is Calle Robleda. Courtesy of MRCA and Google Earth

The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority announced it has acquired 98 acres of Santa Monica Mountains open space south of the 101 Freeway and west of Liberty Canyon Road.

The land widens the amount of protected open space south of the freeway and near the proposed Liberty Canyon wildlife bridge in Agoura Hills. It abuts open space to the west previously protected by the city.

“This acquisition will create a block of 2,430 acres of contiguous public open space that is not bisected by a single paved road, including 537 acres of parkland currently owned and managed by the MRCA,” said Paul Edelman, chief of natural resources and planning for the MRCA.

The 98 acres will also protect the open space that lies between the Malibu Creek State Park “core habitat” and the Liberty Canyon wildlife corridor, Edleman said.

MRCA bought the property for $200,000 with: a grant from Proposition 1, a state ecosystem and watershed protection bond; funds from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy; and money released by L.A. County 3rd District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl from Proposition A, the county’s 2016 clean parks and beaches tax.

“I enthusiastically support this significant expansion of open space in the Santa Monica Mountains in order to make sure that this wild and beautiful habitat will be available in perpetuity for the people and animals of L.A. County to enjoy for generations to come,” Kuehl said.

The new parkland permanently protects core Santa Monica Mountains habitat with prime coastal sage scrub and chaparral. The parkland provides critical linkages for wildlife and people, and contains public hiking access from several locations, officials said.

Acorn staff report